All my life, I’ve heard the story of Elijah and Mt. Carmel. But only as I prepared to write We Confess! The Civil War, the South, and the Church did Elijah’s signature cry to God’s people begin to echo within me: “How long will you try to go both ways?”
After We Confess! was published last December, I returned to Elijah to explore more deeply his heartcry to those in covenant with the Lord: “Worship him alone!” What life could sound that call with such authority? Where and why was such a cry needed? What had lured the people of God to seek so stubbornly to go both ways? What warred against their surrendering fully to the Lord once more?
Searching Elijah’s life, I discovered Ahab and Jezebel. Oh my! I had seen that pair, up close and personal, without knowing what I saw.
In every generation, Ahab and Jezebel exploit divided hearts. Under cover of strong deception, they devastate and destroy God’s people. Elijah lived where Ahab and Jezebel ruled, yet he lived victoriously from a pure heart.
One weekend in March, I met with a small group eager to seek what God wanted to show us through Elijah’s life and times. None of us has been able to articulate what God did that weekend. The intensity of his Presence astonished us. The Lord himself demonstrated how deeply it pleases him when we seek to live before his face with an undivided heart.
Then, one night in June, God spoke to me about writing a series of e-books and calling it the E-Blessings Series. I knew immediately the focus of two books in the series: Esther and Elijah. I wasn’t sure which to tackle first.
Esther seemed the obvious choice. For years, God had been showing me insights into her story that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. I’d taught those insights over time, the teaching growing and shifting as God showed me more and more. For years, I’d wanted to put what I was learning into a book. Now, finally, I had the Lord’s go-ahead to do it.
The insights into Elijah and into Ahab and Jezebel were so new I didn’t know how well I could put them into words. Surely they needed to marinate for a while.
And yet, Elijah’s cry kept resounding deep within me, along with a strong sense of being compelled to warn how deceptively and destructively Ahab and Jezebel are at work in our midst.
Only when I talked with Erin Ulrich, of Design by Insight, about tentative plans for the E-Blessings Series did it become clear: The Esther or Elijah question revealed a spirit/soul battle within me. Writing about Esther felt better (less scary) and seemed more logical, so my soul was voting to take that route. But my spirit recognized the voice of God’s Spirit, telling me, “No, Elijah needs to come first.”
And so it has. The Esther Blessing: Grace to Reign in Life will be published on God’s timetable in early 2013. But today, The Elijah Blessing: An Undivided Heart is available on PDF, on Nook, and on Kindle, where you can also Look Inside the Book!
I’ve prepared a series of posts to run the next four weeks, each of which will give you a taste of The Elijah Blessing. I pray you won’t be satisfied with a taste, but will press in to receive the fullness of the Elijah blessing – the blessing of an undivided heart.
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Look inside The Elijah Blessing: An Undivided Heart.